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Participant Political Culture of India

Indian politics and political culture are always significantly unique. Its democratic system is praiseworthy to the world as the largest democracy. The right to vote, formation of the government by election, criticism of the functions of the government and so forth are usually proved its strong root. But politics and political culture of India are recently deteriorating.    

We see that ‘political culture is the deep-rooted, well-established political traits describing the characteristic of a society which determining the attitudes, values, and beliefs of people in a society. It helps build community and facilitate communication regarding political events, actions, and experiences occur in their community.’ It is referred to as “habits of the heart,” that are passed on generationally. It guides people to ‘abide by certain formal rules, such as the country’s constitution and codified laws.’  ‘Political culture sets the boundaries of acceptable political behavior in a society.’  It determines standard assumptions about the way that government works. According to W. Lance Bennett, the components of political culture can be difficult to analyze. “They are rather like the lenses in a pair of glasses: they are not the things we see when we look at the world; they are the things we see with.”  There are three pure types of political culture: parochial, subject, and participant. ‘In a parochial political culture, citizens are only indistinctly aware of the existence of central government. In a subject political culture, citizens see themselves not as participants in the political process, but as subjects of the government. In a participant political culture, citizens believe both that they can contribute to the system and that they are affected by it.

According to Almond and Verba, democracy  provides the most stability in societies ‘where subject and parochial attitudes provide ballast to an essentially participant culture.’ ‘The citizens are sufficiently active in politics to express their preferences to rulers but not so involved as to refuse to accept decisions with which they disagree. It creates the tension within democracy between popular control and effective governance.’

In fact, political parties in the rule (both in the central and state) are trying to make people a subject. It does like to respect the participant culture of the people, excluding their right to vote. Although voters have a less independent choice of their own to whom they cast their right. They are mostly purchased or ill-motivated, or they have to ignore their self-choice. The dominant political group is usually rectified their self-choice to the dominant group choice.

 It has been noticed that different political parties in the rule use to divert its focus on the political campaign. It becomes a battle between the different political parties. The agenda becomes less important than the personal attack among the leaders’ personal life and personal lifestyle. All of them raise voice against corruption and so forth. But they rarely promise not to allow further. The leaders of different political parties use to involve in gossip and debate on thin issues which have no fruitfulness for people’s development. For instance, the political environment of West Bengal has been worsening daily. The political culture of this state turns into an adverse situation due to the interest of different political parties. “Jai Sri Ram’ ( a chant) draws attention to every corner. It has become a matter of pride and insult depending on the interest of different political parties. Someone chants as a welcome salute, and someone chants as an insult, and someone is angry after hearing it.

It is evident that the voters’ participant political culture is derided. The very interest of the political parties to make them a subject of political culture would never support the very nature of a democratic nation. So, every political party, particularly in the rule, has to provide open space to criticize the works of the government for rectification of weakness. It would surely help to formulate new strong people’s policy.

The views and opinions expressed by the writer are personal and do not necessarily reflect the official position of VOM.
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Written by Harasankar

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